Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Cult of De la Rey

What a stir Bok Van Blerk's song has caused among Afrikaners in South Africa!
The song can be heard chanted at pubs, rugby games and the furore surrounding the song is on every talk station and in every paper. The song has been banned and then unbanned at Loftus Park stadium and I have a feeling it's going to go a lot further than that.
The song is about a hero general in the Anglo Boer war, Jacobus (Koos) De la Rey, who won international acclaim through many victories against the British and his astute military tactics.
The song reads as an dramatised historical account of the Boer war, but in the current South African climate, it rings strongly of a veritable "call to arms" for the Afrikaans nation against oppression. Bok Van Blerk has denied any political subtext, but it's mass adoption and cult status is not due just to its "catchy tune" (it is very catchy though)
Young Afrikaans people feel highly disenfranchised by the new government with its "Blacks first" policies and having played no part in the apartheid regime, they feel rightly hard done by. As Max Du Preez put it. "The Afrikaners had to go back over 100 years to find a politically correct hero to rally around". The history and heritage of the Boers has all but been removed from the history textbooks as an "embarrassing part of our history". This shame has now become indignation in the Afrikaans youth.
The only future for South Africa is in integration, but it would be unfair to see anyone's culture vilified or worse, forgotten! The song I guess sums up the plight of the proud Afrikaans nation.
General Koos De La Rey.